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Final year blues

Hakim Faiz reflects on how exams and essays, like bad fashion choices, have been commited to and forgiven...

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. I’m inclined to believe that Jack would have had a quarter life crisis regardless of the path he took, but maybe that’s just me.

Moderation is not a skill I have been able to or really wanted to learn, and it’s too late now – old dog new tricks. Exams and essays, like bad fashion choices, have been committed to and forgiven. Coping mechanisms have evolved, mutated and reached Trudeau-esque levels of perfection, only to be bowled over by ghosts of the past and the curveballs of the near future. We have lived and we have learnt.

But to now be at the cusp of the career you think you want, with a 2:1 or higher being all that stands between you and job security, stable income, and your dream dog, maybe it is time to don the blinkers. Time to start reading for the essay the day it’s set, to regularly revise and add-to notes for the exams, to set early bedtimes and find a favourite seat and desk at the RadCam, a space haunted by your water bottle and the patter of typing fingers. You limit your nights out, people assume the college library is your second home, and your red reverse card is making passive aggressive posts about noise on the quad. Kudos to those who sustain this, participation certificates and alternative routes for everyone else.

Having rusticated mid-second year, my second second year, and I hope I haven’t lost you yet, was spent witnessing my year’s final year. I learnt that stress could be a gentle lover and a vicious viper, almost always in unison. That study dates really did work, but that time spent together just being was as important.

Each person has their own manner of approaching the final year, but the element of a common goal binds the community and helps carry you through. Motivation becomes as common as cups of tea, and breakdowns are dealt with professional expertise and smoking area therapy. The community, albeit based on the shaky foundations of three years of acquaintance, short terms, differences in opinions, and rage at food thieves, will come together. Their insights will almost always be useful, their concern supportive and their love boundless – but it lies within you to make sure you do not spend the entire year in a nonchalant fog, or in a manic stressed haze.

Hannah Montana must have known something they deliberately keep from double agents. The best of both worlds, academic and social, is attainable if you are willing to live at break neck speeds. Speed thrills but kills, so I would rather set short-term goals, achieve most, and sweep the rest under the rug. Attempted moderation too is an art, and one I intend on perfecting. Final opportunity to really enjoy Oxford, final chance to get the grades, final year with your friends – I want it all.

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